Benefits and Risks of Prescription Medication

People at high risk of fracture are more likely to have a broken bone if they don’t take medication than to have a side effect from prescribed medication.

All medications have potential side effects, even over the counter ones that we buy and use routinely. With osteoporosis medications, the more serious side effects like not healing after dental surgery happen to a very small number of people. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your concerns regarding risk factors.

Remember, a broken bone from osteoporosis can be devastating. It can result in:

  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Social isolation
  • Fear of the future
  • Death from problems after a hip fracture

An osteoporosis medication can reduce the risk of another fracture from 30 – 70%. The risk of one of the more severe side effects, a jawbone that won’t heal after dental surgery or an unusual thigh fracture, is very low. Yet people do have fears. Here are some of the reasons why.


Following the dosage may be hard if you have many conditions needing many drug treatments.

Not all medications are covered under provincial or private drug plans, or there are restrictions on who is covered.

When someone suffers from depression they are not motivated to take care of themselves and therefore do not take the prescribed medication.

The schedule for taking the drug may be difficult.

Patients fear immediate or longer-term side effects. Social media, which tends to feature negative experiences, feeds this fear.

The need for and benefits of a medication may not be felt. Osteoporosis has been called “the silent thief” because there are no symptoms until one has fractured.

Patients may not understand the disease or the benefits of medication.

The individual forgets when and how to take the medication.

The patient may have a poor relationship with their healthcare provider and so not trust their advice.

Patients doubt the benefits of drug treatment or prefer a “natural” approach.